3.0 Ah Hell (Continuous Fire), Part I

by Matt P.



Walter hit the ground with Doctor Winters underneath him just as the shot flew where her head would have been. Each of the others—Alexander, Andre, and Leah—had gone to the body and come back to stand next to the doctor. So they had all been facing away from the darkest corners of the room. Not standard procedure, but a killer that somehow leaves a boatload of cicadas behind throws everyone off. But they had all been facing him.

And so they hadn’t seen the man up in the rafters with a rifle. Walter had barely seen it except for the faintest glint of light off of a scope, and his body had moved without thinking. His fellow policemen had been drawing down on him first out of instinct, but almost as one turned their heads and raised their pistols to fire at the rafters.

Walter stayed on top of the doctor, raising his pistol up to try to track the gunman. He expected to see a corpse falling to the floor, but instead he saw the shooter…jumping. From rafter to rafter he flung himself with the grace of a dancer. His feet always found an even landing even after a leap that, when Walter’s hind-brain was forced to consider it, had been impossibly long. With wood chips exploding all around him and a few shots that Walter swore must have hit him he continued his leaping waltz to the back window, and threw himself at it. Walter raised his pistol and fired off one shot, finally at a good angle, and was sure that his bullet should have hit home. But he saw the man turn and look back before he disappeared out of the window and in to the alley behind.

Andre and Leah ran toward the back door and Andre threw his shoulder into it, sending it exploding outward in a shower of splinters and rotted wood. But when they paused there, guns out, there was apparently no sight of him. They checked out and around the building before reporting back over the radio that the shooter had, apparently, disappeared.

Walter slowly brought himself up and held out a hand to the doctor, who accepted it with a grateful and appraising nod. “I apparently owe you my life, Mr. Richards.” She looked a bit uncomfortable at that, remote and withdrawn for a moment before she nodded. “I won’t forget it.”

Still a bit shaky with the excitement, Walter gave a half-grin. “I never get to say this. Just doing my job, ma’am.” He offered, drawing a genuine laugh and a warm smile from the woman. They both turned to look at Alexander, who shook his head. “I’ve never heard of someone coming back to a Three Stripes scene like this?” Walter made it a question.

Alexander shook his head. “Congratulations, Deputy Richards. Two years into these killings with nothing new at any of them. You show up at one, and we get something.”